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14 June 2018 Photo Supplied
Next Chapter Green Ribbon campaign addresses mental health
Members of Next Chapter and UFS Student counselling are working together to address mental health issues.

Next Chapter, a student support group at the UFS presented the Green Ribbon campaign, pledging their support to students and providing them with assistance in coping with life events that stimulate stress and contribute negatively to their mental health. The team aims to break the stigma surrounding mental health care, and continually assist students with mental health-related issues that they struggle with daily.

The Green Ribbon represents mental health awareness, which is a pressing matter for students and is the type of support students need in a stressful university environment. The campaign focuses on teaching students how to cope with life events that stimulate stress, and contribute negatively to their mental health.
 
A discussion by Dr Ancel George: practising clinical psychologist and lecturer from the UFS Department of Psychology, and Dr Mellissa Barnaschone: Director of UFS Student Counselling, took place, where talks were prominent about creating an inclusive environment for UFS students.

The panel shared a few tips on how students should work towards managing stress, and motivated them for the main mid-year examinations.
 
The follow-up Exam Cram Workshop, presented by Nadia Cloete and Lize Wolmarans, that combined time and stress management, took place on 2 June 2018, and saw students receiving advice on how to approach various issues during the examination period.
 
Mental health awareness does not end with the campaign and Next Chapter’s slogan “Your story continues” encourages students to regularly wear and commemorate the green ribbon in support of continual mental healthcare.
 
Should you have any enquiries or input for the ongoing campaign, contact the Next Chapter team on ufsnextchapter@gmail.com, or further email Tshepang Mahlatsi, founder of Next Chapter on tshepangmahlatsi767@gmail.com

News Archive

Care centre goes high-tech to help sexual abuse victims
2016-11-25

Description: Colposcope Tags: Colposcope

The colposcope, donated by the Discovery Fund,
will be used during gynaecological examinations
to detect any irregularities.
Photo: Supplied

Rape is one of South Africa’s most pressing social problems. Rape levels in the country are often discussed and reported on, but it does not deter perpetrators from this behaviour. According to Africa Check, of the more than 42 000 rape cases reported in 2015, 15 790 were child rape cases.

In an effort to assist victims of sexual assault and rape, the University of the Free State (UFS) Department of Family Medicine adopted the Tshepong Thuthuzela Care Centre, under the leadership of UFS lecturer Dr Mariaan Kotze.

The Discovery Fund donated a colposcope to Tshepong Thuthuzela Care Centre, an instrument that works with the help of a bright light and which is used to examine victims of abuse. It has also become a standard of good practice in the assessment of child abuse worldwide. According to Dr Kotze, the new instrument will also be used for training health practitioners by rendering clinical forensic services to abuse victims.

Managing complex issues

The care centre works with between 80 and 120 victims of rape each month, a third of whom are children under 14 years of age. According to Dr Kotze, the management of child sexual abuse victims is more complex than with adults; as there is a higher chance of missing or over-diagnosing abnormalities. Also, she says, the examination process is often observed by a group of healthcare practitioners, an experience which is often intrusive and intimidating for the child. With the colposcope, the timeframe of the examination is shortened, and can be captured and viewed in real time, without the victim being present.

Best care for victims

The colposcope is a magnifier and light source used during gynaecological examinations. It is instrumental in providing the best care to victims of sexual abuse, and helps diagnose and assist in the treatment of cases of abuse. Its ability to capture and review images at the time of examination allows for retrospective research, and improves the ability of expert witnesses in court cases.

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